I just picked up two excellent books that I can't wait to get into first hand:
1. Meccan Trade and the Rise of Islam - Patricia Crone
2. Hagarism: The Making of the Islamic World - by Patricia Crone and Michael Cook
I haven't begun Meccan Trade as yet but Hagarism has done a lot to confirm my own ideas regarding Islam. Anyone acquainted with the Bible, heretical scripture and the Jewish talmud would be well aware of the borrowing of stories present in the Qur'an. But Crone and Michael go beyond this to explain a possible narrative of how this came about using the best available sources to them.
I will follow up with an extended review after I complete the books.